Jonny Firestorm vs Stone Whitman, Submissions 10 (BG East)
"I don't dance. I kick ass." It's a great line, especially as Firestorm delivers it at the beginning of this match after critiquing Whitman's well-pronounced abs. I can't remember what Whitman said to set up the line, but it works on its own, out of context, because kicking ass is what Jonny does. Everybody knows that. Stone ties Jonny up in some elaborate holds, but they mostly serve to set up Jonny's escapes and reversals, which are equally elaborate and spectacular ... and (let's just put this out there) petty and vindictive too. When Stone calls a three-count pin on him, Firestorm claims the first fall for himself, by "disqualification" since "this is a submissions match" (Whitman, apparently, was not previously informed). Then, seconds later, Firestorm notches up a real win after torture-rack punishment forces Stone to scream "I quit!" Whitman hasn't even recovered before Firestorm starts back in on him. Jonny stomach-claws his way to another submission, but Whitman decides enough is enough and gets just and sweet revenge with a vein-popping Muta lock. At this point we see the two pros are well matched, and the action escalates over the next twenty minutes to a sweet sweet piledriver climax. There's not a lot of chemistry between these two, but the roll call of submission and finishing holds is a primer in the brutal art of ass-kicking, well worth paying careful attention to.
Lane Hartley vs Dylon Roberts, Submissions 10 (BG East)
One reason I'm drawn to Submissions 10 is that, at one time or another, I have been hot for all six of the wrestlers on the card, Hartley being the most complicated fixation of all. Only Alexi Adamov gives me the same butterflies, but Lane has the added bonus of a killer's smile. In this match, Lane, being Lane, calls the rules, stipulating that a win will comprise three submissions all in an unbroken row. Even his explanation makes me start to melt. I find myself mouthing "Yes sir" in cowed compliance. Dylon takes the news coolly but agrees to the conditions nevertheless. When Lane reaches out so that the two can shake on it, I mentally scream "No, Dylon, no!" but too late: Hartley drives his size 12 boot to the guy's knee, forearm-slams his chin, and hammerlocks the guy, all within a second and a half. He pushes the innocent sucker facedown to the mat and starts demanding the first submission. Dylon surprises me (and Lane) by reversing the hold and nearly gaining the first fall for himself, only Lane claws the guy's eyelids and reasserts control ... as nature no doubt intended. If I were ever to meet this heel in the flesh, I'm fairly certain I'd suffer flashbacks to Sunday-school brainwashing and fear the awful clap of lightning-fast damnation on the spot--partly for Lane's out-of-bounds evil, putting me in the line of hell-fire too, partly for the lubricious thoughts that would undoubtedly flood my own mind. I had to watch this match in four or five minute increments, savoring each rich spoonful of wickedness all the way to the end, at which point, fuck the submissions, only a knockout would suffice.
Zach Reno vs Cameron Matthews, Submissions 10 (BG East)
I've wanted to see Zach win big since he first showed up at BG East's door two years ago. A victory over Cameron Matthews could not be a bigger feather in his cap, if he can make it happen. Cam is bigger, more experienced (having wrestled professionally since ... forever, it seems), and possibly stronger and smarter too. But bearded, hairy-chested Reno looks like he is made of balls, with testosterone coursing through his veins. I like Mathews, but I want to see Reno get all over him in this contest. In a hot center-of-the-ring staredown, Cameron asks Zach if he's scared. Zach points out that it's Cam who's breathing heavy: "That what you do when you're scared?" Cam slaps Zach's hairy chest in reply and the fight is on. Zach wants a clean win over this guy, he says, but Cameron insists that wrestling is supposed to be dirty. Cam is so sure of himself that he promises Zach that he (Cameron) will get three submissions in a row within the next 25 minutes. A quick look at the progress bar indicates that this match has 39 minutes remaining, so clearly we're in for a longer haul than Cameron has planned for. We get over 30 minutes of give and take, just the way I like it, and in the final minutes we get sweaty (the way I like it even better), nonstop brutality, ending with a cold, hard knockout. Both men are in tip-top condition (in the beginning, at least), and the action could not be finer.